Transgender swimmer Leah Thomas became a real star this spring, winning three gold at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament. The participation of the former man in competitions with women caused a serious discussion in society. Some called for tolerance, others for the protection of pure women’s sport. It seems that the latter were defeated, because Leah was nominated for the title of “Woman of the Year” in the NCAA. It turns out that it is possible!
“I’m a woman, like everyone else on the team”
Three years ago, Leah Thomas was a man. Will Thomas was engaged in swimming, however, he did not achieve any special results. The best record is second place in the Ivy League 200, 500 and 1650 yard crawls.
At the end of 2019, Will, who was experiencing gender dysphoria, made the final decision to become a woman. After undergoing several courses of hormone therapy, by 2021, Thomas completed a sex change.
Leah announced herself loudly at the US Championship, where she won three gold medals, and with incredible results! The transgender athlete, about 185 centimeters tall, at a distance of 1650 yards from the silver medalist was 38 seconds – space figures for swimming.
Each participation of Leah in the competition caused a wave of discontent among both women’s rights activists and ordinary people. Many of them not only expressed dissatisfaction on social networks, but also staged protests. Caitlyn Jenner, former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner, also opposed Leah’s participation in women’s tournaments. Even Thomas’s 16 partners on the University of Pennsylvania team signed a letter demanding that the transgender athlete be suspended from performances until she undergoes another course of hormone therapy. Leah herself did not pay attention to criticism.
Photo: Mike Comer/Getty Images
“I am a woman, like everyone else on the team. I have always considered myself just a swimmer. This is what I have been doing for a long time, what I love. I go to the pool every day and give my best. I do not pay attention to negativity and hatred. I am here to swim, ”the swimmer admitted.
Meanwhile, such public discontent still had its effect. At the end of June, the International Aquatics Federation (FINA) officially announced that it would create a special category for transgender people in swimming – it will be neither female nor male. In addition, the federation has developed special criteria for the admission of transgender athletes to competitions among women, men or transgender people.
So, for example, a swimmer who has become a swimmer can compete with men without any problems. But for the reverse to happen, a man-turned-woman must make the transition before puberty, that is, 12 years old, and testosterone levels must not exceed 2.5 nanomoles per liter. Otherwise, such athletes will only be able to train in tournaments for transgender people.
The introduction of the new system also entailed tightening the rules for admitting transgender people to tournaments in the American Swimming Federation. The NCAA, however, said that it will apply these rules only from next season, thereby allowing Leah Thomas to play quietly until the end of the season. Then the athlete will have to undergo another course of hormone therapy.
“It’s a kick in the gut!”
In July, the University of Pennsylvania nominated a transgender swimmer for the NCAA Woman of the Year. Not as an apology for tightening the rules? Nevertheless, it is clear – here it is, the tolerant pinnacle of a career! Transgender rights activists and people who support Thomas are ecstatic, because it seems that more could not be done. But the rest are horrified.
How can an ex-man be called “woman of the year” ?! Given current trends, the chances of biological women winning the award immediately became automatically lower.
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“This is insulting, this is a slap in the face, this is a punch in the gut! – said the nominee for the award from the University of Kentucky, swimmer Riley Gaines. – What we, athletes, have devoted our whole lives to, has become an object of ridicule. It’s insulting, it’s incredibly discouraging and, quite frankly, wrong. So we have an NCAA Woman of the Year who has spent 95 percent of her life as a man, which just doesn’t add up. This is incredibly offensive. This is a complete regression of everything that is written in Title IX of the US federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs.
Shocked by the decision to nominate Thomas and world stars. So, the former first racket of the world, open lesbian Martina Navratilova sharply criticized the NCAA.
“Not enough amazing biological athletes, NCAA? What’s wrong with you?” the tennis player wrote on her social networks.
The final vote is in January in San Antonio.